“There were no workers that were forced to attend the event,” [Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob] Moore said. “We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event. We had a pre-registration list. And employees were asked to put their names on a pre-registration list because they could not get into the event unless they were pre-registered and had a name tag to enter the premises.”
But I thought “WOW! HUNDREDS OF COAL MINERS STAND IN LINE FOR MITT ROMNEY!“? Do you mean to tell me that these coal miners were paid to not be “forced” to attend this “mandatory” event?
“Our management people wanted to attend the event and we could not have people underground during Romney’s visit,” Moore insisted.
“But why not still pay then their wage for that day?” [WWVA radio host David] Blomquist pressed.
“By federal election law, we could not pay people to attend the event,” Moore replied. “And we did not want anyone to come back and see where anyone had been paid for that day.”
“I’m not saying pay then to attend the event, I’m saying, ‘Hey look, we have to close down the mine, if you want to attend this event, that’s fine, but you’re still going to get a day’s pay for the work that you would have done,’” Blomquist pointed out. “Why not do that?”
“As a private employer, it was our decision and we made the decision not to pay the people,” the Murray chief financial officer said.
So they were not paid to not be “forced” to attend this “mandatory” event? Management just shut down the mines and didn’t “force” all the workers to attend this “mandatory” Romney photo-op. Why was this “mandatory” event that management didn’t “force” the miners to attend without pay so important anyway?
“We’re talking about an event that was in the best interest of anyone that’s related to the coal industry,” Moore added. “I do not believe that missing an eight-hour day, when you put it into perspective, when you think about how critical—critical this next election is, and how critical it is that we get someone in this office that supports coal—to give up eight hours for a career, I just don’t believe that there is anything negative about that.”
That makes sense: I can see why management wouldn’t think that there’s “anything negative” about forcing people working near or below the poverty line to “give up eight hours” of paid wages to attend a Mitt Romney rally. I’m sure Romney himself fully supported management’s decision, both in this particular case and all others. Because what matters more? Food on the table or a photo-op?
UPDATE: In the comments, kerry notes that this is par for the conservative course: “It’s kind of like their view of rape–if you weren’t physically dragged there and restrained, it wasn’t ‘forced’.”